Posts Tagged ‘Chris Pronger’

A Bit Too Much Faith?

June 26th, 2011

Much has been made of the two blockbuster trades made on Thursday that saw the Philadelphia Flyers send captain Mike Richards and sniper Jeff Carter to Los Angeles and Columbus, respectively.

The return? Youth and potential.

Jakub Voracek, Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn, a future 2nd round draft pick (from Los Angeles), and the 8th and 68th overall picks in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft (both from Columbus).

That’s a whole lot of unproven potential, although I’ll acknowledge Schenn is about as close to a slam dunk as a 19-year old prospect can be.

The Flyers change of direction, moving towards youth and the future, is an interesting one, but perhaps one that puts too much faith in their organization.

» Read more: A Bit Too Much Faith?

NHL Draft Facebook Event – Would you go?

June 25th, 2010

When I logged into Facebook last night, I had a notification of an event I had yet to RSVP to. I’m still not entirely sure if I should confirm my attendance. Although it looks legit (the NHL is very hip on these social media sites!), I’m not sure I fit in with the scene.

Below is a screenshot of the 2010 NHL Draft Facebook event. Would you go?

(Click on the image to view a larger version).

Stayclassy.net's funny 2010 NHL Draft event on Facebook

Stay classy, NHL Entry Draft.

Some hockey action to talk about!

June 20th, 2010

Finally! Some hockey news we can actually get excited about! I thought I’d change things up a bit today and comment on some of the trades and roster changes we’ve seen recently. Here we go…

  • Viewfrommyseats.com said it perfectly when he said described the pressure Carey Price is about to face. “People thought Carey Price had pressure last year. Just wait until next year!” I couldn’t have said it better.
  • Speaking of Montreal, I don’t understand why they traded Jaroslav Halak last week. Most people sighed a collective “that’s it??” when seeing the return for the Habs Playoff hero. I like the trade for Montreal (in building their thin prospects pool), but I would think holding onto Halak until draft day would have maximized his value. Are you seriously telling me Chris Pronger can fetch two 1st Round Picks plus a good prospect (Luca Sbiza) on draft day and Halak can’t even get half of that?
  • I am completely confused by the direction of the New Jersey Devils. In fact I’ll pay someone a lot of money to explain to me why the changes they’ve made over the last six months make sense.
  • While most people have finally caught on to Chicago’s salary cap problems, no one is talking about Brent Seabrook. Seabrook currently earns $3.5 Million and is entering his last year under contract with the Blackhawks. I’m not sure the Hawks have the depth to lose him in addition to some of the other players they’re about to lose. It goes without saying Seabrook is due for a raise and has played a big part in the Hawks success and Duncan Keith’s development.
  • Both Fantana and I are convinced Paul Holmgren’s philosophy when it comes to building the Philadelphia Flyers is similar to how we build fantasy teams in NHL10 (all scoring, no goaltending).  His quote about not being in the Halak discussions – the best goalie even remotely available this summer – is telling as to why the Flyers haven’t won a Stanley Cup since 1975, despite having some great rosters.
  • I’ve seen those Spezza to Columbus rumors pop up more and more lately. As someone who follows the Senators pretty closely, I love that deal for Ottawa (to clarify: Spezza for the 4th overall pick and Derick Brassard – plus some other pieces on each side). I know Sens fans would feel like another Ottawa star would be leaving for nothing, but Brassard is a hell of a player and a 4th overall pick means Ottawa could draft stud defenseman Erik Gudbranson. He plus Erik Karlsson and (maybe) Jared Cowen is a strong foundation Ottawa can build around for years to come. Brassard’s cap hit ($3.2 Million for the next three seasons) would give Ottawa far more flexibility than Spezza’s ($7 Million for the next five seasons).
  • I agree with EVERYONE that Dan Hamhuis to the Flyers plus the emergence of Claude Giroux means one of Simon Gagne, Jeff Carter or Scott Hartnell will be traded. My guess is Jeff Carter because of his market value, his $5 Million cap hit and RFA status after next season. Maybe – just maybe – the Flyers will go after a solid NHL goalie. Perhaps a goalie like Chris Mason? Trading for Hamhuis might also mean Braydon Coburn’s time as a Flyer is up. Coburn is an RFA and is due for a raise over his $1.4 Million cap hit from last season.
  • Speaking of the Nashville Predators, something is clearly up. Perhaps they are clearing room for some UFA signings or a big trade? While that isn’t their style, it would be great to see. I don’t really have “sources” and I don’t make a living creating ridiculous rumors but I could see the Predators going after a high end player like Alex Semin this summer.
  • I think we’re seeing a changing of the guard of sorts. It seems like the NHL is shifting from blockbuster trades during the trade deadline to seeing the flurry of activity happening between the Entry Draft and July 1st. This actually forces more accountability onto GM’s. It also means we might see more GM’s fired in the next few years…

Stay classy, NHL trades. Glad to have you back.

Saturday Chat Roulette Sessions (June 12 edition)

June 12th, 2010

Good afternoon hockey fans. Are you bored? Do you not know what to do with yourself now? Yeah me too. Instead of sulking that the NHL season is over (congrats again to the Chicago Blackhawks on their Stanley Cup win), I decided to take some Chat Roulette screenshots.

This week’s Chat Roulette escapades are an all Philadelphia Flyers special featuring Mike Richards-the Price of Wales trophy, Bobby Clarke reviewing the season with team executives and a professional giving Chris Pronger advice. Enjoy.

Stay classy, NHL Chat Rouletters.

This is the weirdest Stanley Cup Finals. Ever.

June 9th, 2010

Does this not feel like the strangest Stanley Cup Finals ever? Each of the five games in this series have felt a little off and a little wrong. In fact it barely feels like the Stanley Cup Finals… provided you ignore the patches on the jerseys and CBC/Versus reminding us every few minutes of every broadcast.

And although many of us probably felt Chicago and/or Philadelphia would be playing for the Cup back in October, I think we all secretly assumed they’d be doing so with different goalies miraculously acquired during the season via trade or act of God or something.

Ha Ha! I’m laughing at the thought of this… can you imagine if Washington hadn’t shit the bed and gotten to the Finals to play Chicago??? We’d be seeing scores like 15-14 every game! NHL Marketing could call it the “Baseball Series” or something stupid like that. That would be in theme with the Winter Classic too (It’s also clever because both cities legitimately have baseball teams… Wait. You already knew that… crap!). I’m sure that would go over well with the average American sports fan who hates hockey!

(To all the great American hockey fans who read this, you are exempt from my mockings… for now).

Let’s talk about the Conn Smythe trophy for a second. Could there be a less unanimous Playoff MVP? It reminds me of 2007 when the Anaheim Ducks won the Cup and Scott Niedermayer was named MVP. That one totally felt like a “Ahh, whatever” pick. Allow me to explain with a relatively accurate depiction:

Dudes who pick the Conn Smythe winner: So who should we pick?

NHL: Well the Ducks did win so you should probably pick someone from Anaheim. Also, every Senator player sucked in the Finals so yeah, pick a Duck.

Dudes: How about Niedermayer? He’s old and probably worthy. In a Dave Anderchuk kind of way.

NHL: Sure. Sounds good.

Gary Bettman: Yeah sounds really good guys!!

Dudes/NHL: Shut up Gary!!

In all likeliness I suspect one of Jonathan Toews or Chris Pronger will win the Conn Smythe. Patrick Kane might have an outside shot but I think it all comes down to which team wins the Cup. Speaking of Pronger, what the hell kind of Cup Finals is this when Pronger is the good guy (sort of)?? CBC’s done a great job of selling that one (the experienced and savvy vet who’s enjoying the moment blah, blah, blah…). But what the hell? Aren’t we supposed to hate him? Wasn’t he supposed to get suspended at some point during the Flyers run to the Finals? I’m confused. I guess I’ll continue rooting for Toews.

Want to know why the NHL agrees with me that this year’s Finals are weird? They pulled all those current “What if…” commercials and replaced them with the “Speechless” ones that feature winners from years past (Bret Hull, Mark Messier, etc…). Ha ha, “What if the Stanley Cup Finals didn’t suck…”.

Now let’s end with goaltending. Somehow Hawks goalie Antti Niemi has won three games this round, yet has allowed four or more goals in all but one of those games. Ouch. What’s even more surprising is that he hasn’t been pulled in the series despite allowing 19 goals in five games. And then there’s Michael Leighton – perhaps the worst goalie to ever play in the Stanley Cup Finals. I know that sounds harsh. He legitimately seems like a great team guy (in all sincerity). But it’s like he’s pulled once per series. At least. It’s like that Anchorman line, “60% of the time, he works every time”. Fitting, I know.

Anyways, we’ll see how tonight’s game 6 in Philadelphia goes. Imagine the score is something ridiculous like 8-6 Chicago and we see both goalies pulled on a night where the Stanley Cup is awarded. That would be hilarious and amazing. Enjoy the game!

Stay classy, Stanley Cup Finals. Even if you are the weirdest one ever.

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Reducing the number of games decided by shootouts

June 4th, 2010

Umm, apparently not everyone is in love with shootouts in the NHL. Take a moment to gather your thoughts. I’m as shocked as you.

According to Puck Daddy and other reports, a few NHL Executives are brainstorming ways to reduce the number of games decided by shootouts. And although respected hockey minds like Red Wings GM Ken Holland are heading this charge, I figure I’ll throw a few suggestions into the pot. You can thank me later NHL…

  • Don’t let the group in charge of deciding how to deal with headshots in on this debate. I have it on good authority that they’ll never arrive at a solution.
  • Get Chris Pronger to steal all the pu — Nevermind. No one will understand this joke… too obscure.
  • Do not under any circumstance allow Gary Bettman and NBC to brainstorm resolutions together!
  • Have the guys who control the Philadelphia Flyers goal siren review anything that resembles an overtime scoring opportunity. Then make sure the only person who could overrule their blatant error is Bud Selig.
  • Ask Tomas Kaberle for a list of shootout alternatives he’d be willing to accept. Please note such a list might be a few years old despite claims from “informed” sources.
  • Bare with me here, this one is kind of ‘out there’. Make overtime longer or eliminate shootouts altogether. Be gentle with me…
  • Assemble a crack team of brilliant minds lead by Jim Joyce and Kerry Fraser. I’m not sure what solution they’d come up with but I’m pretty sure it would stick. Perfectly.

Stay classy, NHL Shootouts.

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Since today’s post was shorter (and crappier) than usual, I’d like to offer several links to some recent blogs that I think you’ll enjoy. Happy Friday.

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Saturday Chat Roulette Sessions (May 29 edition)

May 29th, 2010

Good Saturday morning or afternoon! Today is a beautiful day – the weather is great and game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals begins in a few short hours! Before getting to the game, I urge you to treat yourself to a few laughs (at me or from someone actually funny!).

This week’s Chat Roulette escapades feature Sidney Crosby-Alex Ovechkin, Chris Pronger-Dustin Byfuglien and Steve Yzerman-Montreal Canadiens. Enjoy.

Stayclassy.net's Chat Roulette weekly feature starring Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin for the 2011 Winter Classic game.

Stayclassy.net's Chat Roulette weekly feature starring Chris Pronger and Dustin Byfuglien.

Stayclassy.net's Chat Roulette weekly feature starring Steve Yzerman and the Montreal Canadiens.

Stay classy, NHL Chat Rouletters.

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Signs you probably need to invest in goaltending

May 6th, 2010

As we move forward in the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs, it’s apparent that some teams have better goaltending than others. Whether it’s through trading, drafting or both, it’s clear some teams place a higher priority on developing goalies.

To be fair, some teams focus on developing star forwards or solid NHL defencemen instead. But in saying that, there come times when plans need to change because you haven’t had a decent goalie in 10+ years (or something like that…). Here are some signs that you probably need to invest in goaltending:

  • You’ve started to correlate the cool masks of Evgeni Nabokov, Marty Turco and Patrick Lalime with skill.
  • Accusing every opponent of crease crashing is a clever method to divert attention away from the fact that your goaltending hasn’t been very good either.
  • Tuukka Rask is better than your last great goalie and has already had a better meltdown/flip-out at the age of 23.
  • You’ve already traded for Chris Pronger.
  • You’ve asked Brian Burke if he’d be interested in trading any of the 20 free agent goalies he’s recently signed.
  • The last time you selected a goalie in the 1st or 2nd round of the NHL Entry Draft, Zarley Zalapski was playing in his final season (as a Flyer, no less).
  • You are considering giving next year’s starting goalie job to Anton Volchenkov.
  • In an effort to mirror the way goalies like Jaroslav Halak and Henrik Lundqvist play the lower half of the net so well, you try to recruit Ben Roethlisberger into playing nets by telling him the crease is “easy”.
  • Ray Emery is still in your long term plans.
  • You aren’t concerned about Dustin Byfuglien because his presence in front of your goalie is a better excuse than “our goalie couldn’t save it”.
  • Daniel Carcillo is scoring hat tricks during warm ups… and he’s not even bragging about it!
  • Your team merch department starts selling # 13 Voorhees jerseys.
  • Sadly, you are very interested when Dominik Hasek makes his annual NHL comeback attempt.
  • Your scouts have looked into an older goalie prospect named Casey Jones.

Stay classy, certain NHL teams who need to invest in goaltending, for once.

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Burgundy’s 1st round NHL playoff predictions

April 14th, 2010

Stayclassy.net's NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs

Tonight marks the beginning of the NHL’s 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Like everyone else, I’d like to make my predictions for the 1st round. Before breaking down each series, I have two things to say. Firstly, I don’t hate any of the Canadian teams, however, I don’t like Vancouver, Montreal, or Ottawa’s chances. Secondly, I’m far more interested in the Western Conference series than the Eastern Conference series. This means two things. 1- I won’t be getting much sleep for the next few weeks. 2- I’ll be on Twitter a lot and look forward to talking Playoffs with all of you!

Washington Capitals (1) vs Montreal Canadiens (8)
I read about Tomas Plekanec’s quotes from the other day. I don’t understand why he’s playing these silly games, but whatever. He better bury a few goals on Washington or egg will be on his face, goatee and turtleneck. Sure, Montreal probably has the edge in goaltending, but Theordore’s play this year has been pretty good. Honestly, I don’t think Montreal has any chance in this series. Even if Jaroslav Halak plays like he did at the Olympics, Washington will be too much for Montreal’s slow defence. Alex Ovechkin has something to prove and Nickolas Backstrom is fresh off his best season in his young NHL career.
Verdict: Washington in 5 games.

New Jersey Devils (2) vs Philadelphia Flyers (7)
This series could go either way. On one hand, you have a legendary goalie in Marty Brodeur versus 3rd-stringer Brian Boucher (advantage Devils). On the other hand, you have Ilya Kovalchuk/Zach Parise versus Danny Briere/Jeff Carter/Mike Richards/Simon Gagne and more (advantage Flyers). I like Philadelphia’s defence a little more than New Jersey’s, too. And because Chris Pronger has a strong reputation for helping teams over the hump in Playoffs, I have to side with the Flyers as my upset team in the East.
Verdict: Philadelphia in 7 games.

Buffalo Sabres (3) vs Boston Bruins (6)
Boston’s well documented  scoring troubles and Buffalo’s all-star goalie Ryan Miller combine for a tough challenge for the Bruins. In addition, the Bruins announced the possibility of Marc Savard’s return to the team no earlier than in the 2nd round of the playoffs. Given the challenges Boston has faced this year (off years for certain players and injuries), making the Playoffs is a considerable feat. I don’t think they have any chance against the well oiled machine that is the Buffalo Sabres. On a slightly different note, it should be interesting to see which rookie proves most valuable to their respective teams between Tyler Myers and Tuukka Rask.
Verdict: Buffalo in 5 games.

Pittsburgh Penguins (4) vs Ottawa Senators (5)
This is a tough match-up for the Ottawa Senators when you consider a 6th place finish would have put them up against the Sabres, a team they’ve dominated for years. The obvious storyline for this series is goaltending: Brian Elliott versus Marc-Andre Fleury. As a fan of the Senators, I’m under no illusions, Pittsburgh will win this series, the question is how many games will it take. SensChirp (a blog I respect) believes Ottawa stacks up pretty closely with Pittsburgh. Some of the points are valid, but I’m not sure Ottawa’s defence is that much better than Pittsburgh’s, nor do I believe Ottawa can out-coach the defending Stanley Cup Champions.
Verdict: Pittsburgh in 6 games.

San Jose Sharks (1) vs Colorado Avalanche (8)
I really like the Colorado Avalanche and no, I didn’t think they’d come remotely close to making the playoffs prior to the 09-10 season starting. Having said that, I see the Sharks experience and grit over-powering the young Avalanche. The Avalanche strike me as a team very satisfied with their season whereas the Sharks have known all year that their Playoff results is what really matters. I like some of the role players San Jose has acquired between last season and now (guys like Jed Ortmeyer, Scott Nichol, Niclas Wallin, etc…). I believe these guys, along with Patrick Marleau, Dan Boyle and Rob Blake will be difference makers in this series. Also, I’m concerned for Colorado that star goalie Craig Anderson might be a bit burned out from his first regular season as a starting goalie.
Verdict: San Jose in 6 games.

Chicago Blackhawks (2) vs Nashville Predators (7)
Most of us could make a living from underestimating the Nashville Predators. And although the Predators are a team built so well for the Playoffs, I simply cannot bet against the Chicago Blackhawks. People will question the Hawk’s goaltending and while it’s been suspect at times this season, I don’t think it’s as bad as everyone makes it out to be. It’s easily the weakest part of the Hawks roster, but that’s easy to say when you look at their forwards and defence depth. Chicago’s hurting with injuries to their defence, but I believe their talent up front will carry the load in this series. I look for Patrick Kane to lead the way in points and clutch plays.
Verdict: Chicago in 6 games.

Vancouver Canucks (3) vs Los Angeles Kings (6)
Alright Canucks fans, don’t hate me for saying this, but I think the Kings are going to beat the Canucks. Don’t get me wrong, this is the best team (by far) the Canucks have put together in years. But with all the pressure on them, their injuries at defence and Roberto Luongo’s inconsistencies, I don’t have a good feeling for the Canucks. I know the Canucks beat the Kings three times this year, but I think the Kings move pucks better and faster than Vancouver and have a quick transition game that will burn the slower Canucks defence. I know Jonathan Quick’s play recently hasn’t been good, but I don’t see that as a factor in this series. Simply put, the Kings are loose and Vancouver know they need a solid post-season run this year.
Verdict: Los Angeles in 7 games.

Phoenix Coyotes (4) vs Detroit Red Wings (5)
This might be the most intriguing 1st round match-up this year. Like I said with the Avalanche, I believe the Coyotes are satisfied with their season and won’t have the same drive the Red Wings will. Ilya Bryzgalov shed his reputation of burning out down the regular season stretch from previous years, but I can’t help but wonder if he’s at all fatigued from this season. He’s finally gotten used to playing 60-70 regular season games per year, but that’s without playoffs. I think Detroit are too strong and too experienced for the young up-tempo Coyotes. And with Jimmy Howard’s play over the second half of the season, he looks poised to have a great Playoff performance. I don’t like betting against this Phoenix team, but dislike betting against Detroit even more.
Verdict: Detroit in 6 games.

There you have it. These are my 1st round predictions. What are your predictions?

Stay classy, NHL Playoffs.

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The only Canada-USA preview you need to read!

February 27th, 2010

The hockey world is buzzing in anticipation for an epic Gold Medal showdown between Team Canada and Team USA following what can only be described as two crazy Olympic Semi-Final hockey games on Friday.

Crazy because Team USA scored six goals in less than a period to blowout Finland to get to the Gold Medal game.
Crazy because Team Canada came within inches of blowing a three goal lead in the final eight minutes against Slovakia to get to the Gold Medal game.

The results from two very different Semi-Final games only add to the layers of intrigue going into tomorrow’s Canada-USA rematch. Much has been made of Canada’s refocused play, following the 5-3 loss to Team USA last week. Canada has been significantly better, with much of the credit going to Mike Babcock’s line juggling and Canada’s aggressive forecheck. But let’s not forget about Team USA and how well they’ve played as a team in a short tournament like this.

Let’s talk about Team Canada
One thing that hasn’t been talked about very much is the preparation and tailored game plans Canada has created for Germany, Russia and Slovakia. Each game has offered a different look and feel from the Canadians. Credit should go to Kevin Lowe and Ken Hitchcock for designing solid game plans and terrific advanced scouting. To me, this is where the real story begins for the Gold Medal game. What will Canada’s game plan be and how will they react to the American’s game plan? The Americans are a physical team – by far the most physical team Canada has played in this tournament. Do the Canadians fight aggression with aggression? The pressure will be on goalie Roberto Luongo, too. I don’t think I can recall a game where I’d consider Luongo the underdog against the opposing goaltender. Luongo hasn’t been tested too much since relieving Martin Brodeur. The other big question I have for Team Canada is if their defensemen – namely Chris Pronger – can handle the strong forecheck of Team USA. This will be something to watch as the game goes on.

Let’s talk about USA
It’s no secret a big part of Team USA’s win over Canada last Sunday was a result of turning Martin Brodeur’s puck handling strength into a weakness. The Americans were rewarded with two goals in the first period because of this. Two goals they might not have expected. It will be a different story on Sunday as Roberto Luongo will likely avoid over-playing pucks. This begs the question, what will USA’s game plan be? Team USA are no longer the underdogs Brian Burke has made them out to be for months. They haven’t been since taking out Canada in the preliminary round. And looking at the way Ryan Miller has been playing for Team USA, some might suggest the Americans are the Gold Medal favourites. Friday’s Semi-Final win for Team USA was big for a few reasons. Not only did the score grab all of Team Canada’s complete and undivided attention, but Patrick Kane enjoyed his best game of the tournament. It’s perfect timing for a player who really needs to continue that kind of play if Team USA want to win Gold. Kane makes their second line run, so if he’s on his game, it’s two strong forward lines for Team USA. If he’s not playing well, Canada only needs to worry about Zach Parise’s line. Team USA are pretty well rested too. They coasted through the majority of Friday’s game after jumping out to a big lead very early in the first period. Unlike Canada who fought to the dying seconds of their game to win.

If you breakdown each position between the two teams, here’s where I see the advantages:
Goaltending: USA
Defense: Canada
Forwards: ?

The forwards of each team will decide this team. While Canada may have a stronger group of forwards, Team USA’s seem to better understand their roles. It’s going to make  for a pretty interesting chess match. While this game may not have the appeal a Canada-Russia final may have had, it definitely has more intrigue. It also has a bit more edge as Canada will either make up for their previous loss or cement USA as the undisputed Olympic Champions. There’s a lot on the line for both teams… may the best team win.

Stay classy, Olympic Hockey.

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